This CD cover image released by Capitol Records shows "Morning Phase," by Beck.
This CD cover image released by Capitol Records shows "Morning Phase," by Beck. (AP Photo/Capitol Records)

Beck — “Morning Phase”: “Sea Change” was Beck at his most Pagliacci, pop music's prankster clown showing how he really has the feels underneath it all, but what was most stunning was how he pared down his songcraft to its most bare, the lyrics clean and direct where previously they were lost in absurdism and simile. What “Morning Phase” does differently is that there is a bit of hope tacked on to the intention of each song, a bit of sunshine baked deep inside Beck's echoing voice. — Evan Sawdey

Neneh Cherry — “Blank Project”: The artistic strength of Neneh Cherry has never been in question over the past 30-plus years. From a member of Rip Rig + Panic to the solo phenomenon of “Raw Like Sushi” to working with her husband and daughter in CirKus, Cherry has always followed her own path in her style. However, the maturation of her voice and viewpoint, as well as the renewed interest in it, is a welcome development. First with “The Cherry Thing” and now “Blank Project,” Neneh Cherry has stepped back onto center stage to deserved applause. — Erik Highter

The Notwist — “Close to the Glass”: It's been a strange road for the Notwist. The German quartet has been around since the late 80s and as the decades have gone by they've rapidly changed sounds. Unfortunately some of the ambient noodling from “Sturm” has carried over in befuddling ways, making “Close to the Glass” album with a few bright points overwhelmed by a lack of cohesion. The best parts of “Close to the Glass” work with folk and indie, much like Neon Golden. The first half of the album is undoubtedly the stronger side; a few tracks here are among the Notwist's best. — Nathan Stevens

Other notable releases this week:

Dierks Bentley — “Riser”

The Fray — “Helios”

Lo-Fang — “Blue Film”

Brad Mehldau — “Mehliana: Taming the Dragon”

Bob Mould — “Workbook 25”

Schoolboy Q — “Oxymoron”

St. Vincent — “St. Vincent”

Silversun Pickups — “The Singles Collection”

Temples — “Sun Structures”

Vertical Scratchers — “Daughter of Everything”

Wild Beasts — “Present Tense”

Pharrell Williams — “G I R L”



DA & the Jones — ‘Sirens' (album stream)

You might be familiar with DA & the Jones principals Daniel Ahearn and Mindy Jones without knowing it, him for earlier solo work that's appeared in TV and film as well as their contributions to Moby's 2013 single “The Perfect Life.” On their own, DA & the Jones have created their debut full-length “Sirens,” a collection of simmering, after-hours tunes built on their intertwined hers ‘n' his vocals and warm guitar tones. Produced by Mocky, who's worked with the likes of Feist and Jamie Lidell, “Sirens” is atmospheric without feeling slight, with subtle orchestration and effects adding richness and texture. — Arnold Pan




Dex Romweber Duo Announces New Album “Images 13” and New Single “Roll On”

On 18 March, punkabilly pioneer Dex Romweber releases his eponymous duo's latest album, “Images 13” (Bloodshot). Of Romweber, Jack White has described the former Flat Duo Jets mainstay as an influence and “one of the best kept secrets of the rock ‘n' roll underground.” And you can hear that kinship between Romweber and White, not to mention the Black Keys and in-their-prime Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, on “Images 13's” first single, “Roll On.” Dex Romweber Duo's “Roll On” is gritty and raw, only meticulously so, riding on surf-tinged blues riffs and the frontman's dramatic, growling vocals. — AP




Neil Davidge — “Sleepwalking” feat. Emi Green (video)

Neil Davidge has had a storied career thus far, best known for his production and co-writing work with the hugely influential Massive Attack. He has also composed the music for several films, including “Trouble the Water” and “Push,” while handling production duties for artists as diverse as David Bowie, Damon Albarn, Mos Def, and Snoop Dogg. “Slo Light” releases this week with vocal turns by the likes of Sandie Shaw and Cate Le Bon, among others. To give you that first taste, check out the video for the record's first single “Sleepwalking” featuring vox from Emi Green. — Sarah Zupko


Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas — “Caught Up” (video)

Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas may just be the quintessential melting pot of Detroit music. The vampish vixen of the Motor City and her caravan fuse rock, jazz, R&B, soul and blues, each part coalescing like natural bedfellows, their aesthetic a product of what was and a harbinger of what's to come. It's fitting then that the just-released video for “Caught Up,” from EP “Demons,” incorporates this anachronistic feel. — Cole Waterman



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